Norway rides Johansson’s ‘stache, clinching jump to gold

Ski Jumping - Winter Olympics Day 10

It couldn’t have ended any other way.

Norway’s Robert Johansson, Poland’s Kamil Stoch and Germany’s Andreas Wellinger duking it out for gold.

This time, Johansson, he of the mythical handlebar mustache, came through.

Johansson, jumping last in the large hill team event, delivered Norway’s first ever team ski jumping gold, pitching a 137.6-point jump to clench the gold, blowing past Poland and Germany for the top spot. Norway, who led from start to finish, totaled an astonishing 1098.5 points. Germany finished second with 1075.7 points, narrowly holding off Poland at 1072.4.

But to do so, our sweet Norwegian prince had to beat his PyeongChang demons.

It started with Wellinger winning the normal hill gold, edging out Johansson — who won the bronze —  after Stoch fell short on the final jump.

The results flipped in the large hill final, with Stoch knocking off Wellinger for the gold on the final jump, while Johansson again finished third.

So it was no surprise to see the team event come down to the trio that has dominated PyeongChang’s ski jumping events.

But in the end, Norway was just too deep of a squad for defending gold-medalist Germany or Poland to hang with.

Through the first round, Norway held a razor-thin lead over Germany, 545.9-543.9, with Poland just behind at 540.9 points.

Then Daniel Andre Tande happened. The Norwegian kicked off the final round with a huge 145.5-point jump, 13.8 points better than the second-place jump in the first group and the second-highest score among all jumpers of the day. The mere fact that Tande was jumping in the opening group — among each nation’s worst jumpers — just shows how utterly dominant Norway was as a team.

Andreas Sterjnen followed suit with a 139.8-point rocket — again the highest score of the group — as Norway pushed their lead to 28.5 points over Poland.

Johann Andre Forfang, representing Norway in the third grouping, did his part, keeping Norway on pace with a 129.7-point jump.

​So when Johansson sat on the gate to end the competition, gold was on his mind. No more bronzes. Just a shiny new gold on his mantle and for once, a stop atop the podium. For once, looking down at Wellinger and Stoch. 

Elsewhere, Kevin Bickner wrapped up his impressive Olympic debut with a team-high 131.0-meter jump for 124.7 points, but it wasn’t enough to push the U.S. into the final round. Casey Larson (85.7 points), William Rhoads (80.4) and Michael Glasder (86.4) rounded out the team. Team USA finished with 377.2 points as a team, finishing in 9th place — the first team cut.

The 12 competing countries were allowed four jumper each. The athletes were divided into four groups of 12, with each nation having one representative in each group and the strongest jumpers in the fourth and final group. Four teams — Team USA, Czech Republic, Italy and South Korea — were eliminated after the first round.

Each qualifying team’s jumpers completed two jumps — one in each round — which were all added up to a team’s final score.

More coming…

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